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Emotional Boundaries

How did I become someone else’s “door mat”?

How depressive and upsetting!

I have always thought of myself as kind, understanding and helpful to others- a unique person, worthy of others’ respect and regard- even love.  So why do others treat me poorly? Do they seem to feel that to get their needs met they must get their way with others. To do this do they need to intrude on the emotional boundaries of other people?   Have you had to deal with such people??? Do they need to observe your boundaries as well as their own?

In such cases boundaries have been crossed- boundaries which have been either misunderstood, intentionally violated or have not been clearly set.

Emotional boundaries are crucial in helping us to enjoy healthy relationships and avoiding unhealthy or dysfunctional ones. Personal boundaries are the limits we set in relationships that allow us to protect ourselves from being manipulated by, or enmeshed with, emotionally needy others.  They help us take care of ourselves and if we can receive it, to respect the selves of others. (John Stibbs, 2001, paraphrased)

There are at least two dimensions to the setting of boundaries:

First What personal boundaries do we as individuals require?

We each need a clearly defined sense of our own identity, with our own understanding of self, of who we are and what makes us unique,

Second How have we communicated these boundaries to others?

We need to clearly and unambiguously communicate our needs and desires to others.

Unhealthy boundaries are often as a result of being raised in dysfunctional families where maturation and the individuation process was not properly understood nor the child respected as an individual.

Consider, for example, the role of the parent who screams at their children or becomes physically, verbally or emotionally abusive with them as a self-centered way of dealing with their own stored up emotions from their own traumatic childhood, relegating the needs of the children for safety, security, respect and comfort to second place at best. What the children are likely to learn in this situation is that boundaries don’t matter, that indeed they, as individual human beings, don’t matter except where they are useful for the emotional needs of others.

When we lack a sense of our own identity and the boundaries of the self that protect and define us as individuals, we tend to draw our identities, our sense of self-worth, from others as we did in our family as youngsters, drawing our sense of worth from their perceptions of us. (Stibbs,

This is where Counseling on Demand comes in. You need not go through this alone.  With our support, you can get through these times.

We can help you on both fronts- your self-worth and boundary-setting, as well as the emotional distress that you feel. You needn’t leave your favorite/private place.  Nor must you wait for an appointment.  We are there 24/7. You can begin in 24 hours or less.

You may contact us now. Your first consultation is free.

We await your call, email or text directly. If you want a face-to-face, we can Skype you on your computer, cell phone or tablet.


I am the Founder and CEO of Counseling On Demand with a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with over 25 years of experience in helping Individuals, Couples, Adolescents, and Families who struggle with a wide variety of Life's Challenges. I thus have developed an Array of Effective Counseling Tools and Evidenced-Based Interventions to help you towards Your Road to Better Mental Health and Wellness. You are Never Alone...I look forward to meeting with you or your family member soon!